Thursday, April 1, 2004

Parents' group underwrites sports programs in Franklin

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

FRANKLIN - Sports in Franklin schools will continue - provided a community group makes timely payments.

Concerned Parents for the Future of Franklin Athletics has been given the go-ahead to begin a pay-to-participate program.

Is it the first of three such groups in Butler and Warren counties to have its proposal accepted after activities were cancelled following levy defeats last month. Decisions on pay-to-participate will be made in the next two weeks in the Fairfield and Edgewood school districts.

"Their plan is to essentially fund it. It's not going to cost the district any dollars," said Brandon Saylor, president of the Franklin Board of Education.

Under the plan, athletes in grades 7-12 will be charged a maximum of $430 per sport, said Novalee Hillard, co-chairman of the Concerned Parents group. That fee would go down as money is generated through fund-raisers.

"Our goal is to make sure the participation fee doesn't exceed $250," Hillard said.

The group's first payment of $128,000 is due July 15. It would pay to maintain the fall program with the same number of coaches and sports as this year. A payment of $108,000 is due Oct. 15 for winter sports. The last payment, $84,000, is due Feb. 15 for spring sports.

Scholarships will be available for athletes who can't afford the fee.

If the group is unable to meet payment deadlines, the plan will not go forward.

A second group has asked the board to impose an activity fee for all students in grades K-12 that would pay for activities other than sports. That fee would range from $5 to $25.

It could be lowered if the board would set aside some of the money it receives from its Pepsi contract, said Tammy Chamberlain, who is working on that plan.

Both groups have pledged to work on passing a levy the district plans to put on the Aug. 3 ballot. A steering committee will make its recommendation on the levy amount at Monday's 7 p.m. school board meeting in the high school's theater.

"My ultimate goal is, we wouldn't have to implement any plan at all because the levy passes," Chamberlain said.

The Concerned Parents for the Future of Franklin Athletics has scheduled two fund-raisers. They are:

 April 17: Monte Carlo Night, 7 p.m. to midnight, Amvets Post 120, 605 S. Main St. Cost is $10 presale or $15 at door. Information: (937) 371-8284.

 Carnival/donkey drop: May 22-23, Hampton Bennett Building, 150 E. Sixth St., 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. $5 per ticket for the drop.

 Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 245, Franklin, OH 45005. Checks should be made payable to the Pay to Participate Fund.

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